GESI Project in Agona East District, Ghana.

A project being sponsored by STAR-Ghana and aimed at ensuring Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has been undertaken in the Agona East District in the central region.

This project, dubbed ‘Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI)’ is being implemented by Young and Lonely Foundation (YLF) under the supervision of the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR).

The beneficiary communities are Nkran Ekura, Brahabekum, Otwekwa, Okotokrom, Oboyambo, Kofi Kum and Fante Bawjiase. The GESI project is a project that seeks to eliminate exclusion issues affecting the disadvantaged and marginalized groups especially the PWDs, women and girls of reproductive age in the rural communities.

Expected outcomes

The expected outcomes of the project are to ensure gender equality and social inclusion systematically integrated in Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Ghana, citizens including target groups actively influencing the provision of equitable and gender inclusive health care and programming in UHC as part of project sustainability efforts.

The main objective is “to mobilize and strengthen the capacity of target groups/communities to actively demand implementation of the provisions of UHC (NHIS, CHPS) by August 2019.”

Meetings were organized in the beneficiary communities to educate women in reproductive age, young people, people living with disabilities, the aged/opinion leaders on their health rights and responsibilities through the Patients’ Charter and government’s commitments to UHC and the provision of NHIS.

The objective of the activity was to improve the knowledge of women in reproductive age, young people, people living with disabilities, the aged and opinion leaders on how to demand for their health rights and accountability on government’s commitment to the UHC and the provision of NHIS.

As part of the GESI project, some policies that seek to address inequalities among the populace were explained to the people in order to improve their knowledge in all-inclusiveness when it comes to decision making for the community.

Also, they were engaged through capacity building to enhance their effectiveness in demanding for equality at all levels and also empower especially, women and girls to actively participate in making decisions for the development of their community.

Challenges of communities

It came to light during the engagements that all the beneficiary communities had difficulties in accessing health care. Some of them do not have CHPS compounds and had to travel for hours to nearby towns before receiving attention.

Again, due to the absence of a district NHIS office, residents would have to travel long distances to particularly Agona Swedru to either register with the scheme or renew their cards in order to benefit from the scheme. This development is a great source of worry to the poor community members, some of whom have no option than to refuse to register for the NHIS cards.

Stakeholder Meeting

At a stakeholder meeting to present the findings from the beneficiary communities, Mr Gilbert Kofi Germain, the Chief Executive Officer of YLF, highlighted on the community sensitizations and the findings and responses derived from the residents saying that ‘this project was organized to help build the capacities of citizens to actively demand the implementation of government’s commitment on UHC and the provision of NHIS and CHPS compounds.

He charged the participants to be actively involved in the discussion of the challenges facing the communities in order to find lasting solution towards addressing health needs of the people. Please see more pictures on my: